There are different kinds of bonds that can form in a molecule. When two atoms approach each other close enough for their electron clods to interact, the electrons of one repels the electrons in the other, and the same thing happens within the nucleus of the atoms. At the same time, each atom’s negatively charged electron is attracted to the other atom’s positively charged nucleus. If the atoms still come closer, the attractive forces offset the repulsive and the energy of the atom decreases and bonds are formed – the atom sticks together. When the energy decrease is small, the bonds are van der Waals. When the energy decrease is larger, we have chemical bonds, either ionic or covalent.

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